Iridium CloudConnect for SBD on the AWS Cloud

Quick Start Reference Deployment


December 2020
Jaco Botes and Jeremy Stock, Iridium Satellite LLC
Tim Mattison and Andrew Glenn, AWS Quick Start team

Visit our GitHub repository for source files and to post feedback, report bugs, or submit feature ideas for this Quick Start.

This Quick Start was created by Iridium Satellite LLC in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Quick Starts are automated reference deployments that use AWS CloudFormation templates to deploy key technologies on AWS, following AWS best practices.


This Quick Start reference deployment guide contains step-by-step instructions for deploying Iridium CloudConnect for Short Burst Data (SBD) on an Iridium customer’s existing AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) environment.

The Quick Start is for Iridium users who want to receive their SBD device data in Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) queues in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format.

Amazon may share user-deployment information with the AWS Partner that collaborated with AWS on the Quick Start.

Iridium CloudConnect for SBD on AWS

Iridium CloudConnect is a satellite cloud-based adapter service that transfers SBD messages from Iridium-based devices to the AWS Cloud.

This Quick Start deploys Iridium CloudConnect into your existing AWS infrastructure. Using Amazon SQS, this deployment establishes the standard architecture to get SBD messages from devices on the Iridium network into queues stored on your AWS virtual private cloud (VPC).


You are responsible for the cost of the AWS services used while running this Quick Start. There is no additional cost for using the Quick Start.

The AWS CloudFormation templates for Quick Starts include configuration parameters that you can customize. Some of the settings, such as the instance type, affect the cost of deployment. For cost estimates, see the pricing pages for each AWS service you use. Prices are subject to change.

After you deploy the Quick Start, create AWS Cost and Usage Reports to deliver billing metrics to an Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket in your account. These reports provide cost estimates based on usage throughout each month and aggregate the data at the end of the month. For more information, see What are AWS Cost and Usage Reports?

Software licenses

No software licenses are necessary. Iridium charges fees for messages, satellite network usage, and infrastructure setup, subject to applicable license agreements and terms and conditions with Iridium. Contact your Iridium representative, VAR, or service provider for details.


Deploying this Quick Start with default parameters builds the following Iridium CloudConnect environment in the AWS Cloud.

Figure 1. Quick Start architecture for Iridium CloudConnect on AWS

As shown in Figure 1, the Quick Start deploys the following in your existing AWS virtual private cloud (VPC):

  • Amazon SQS to provide a highly available queueing service for Iridium SBD messages. This deployment configures the following queues:

    • Mobile-originated

    • Mobile-terminated

    • Mobile-terminated confirmation

    • Mobile-terminated error

  • An AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role and policy to set up Iridium CloudConnect cross-account authentication.

Planning the deployment

Specialized knowledge

This deployment requires a moderate level of familiarity with AWS services. If you’re new to AWS, visit Getting Started with AWS and Training and Certification. These sites provide materials for learning how to design, deploy, and operate your infrastructure and applications on the AWS Cloud.

This Quick Start reference deployment guide assumes that you have some familiarity with Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD) devices and communications.

AWS account

If you don’t already have an AWS account, create one at by following the on-screen instructions. Part of the sign-up process involves receiving a phone call and entering a PIN using the phone keypad.

Your AWS account is automatically signed up for all AWS services. You are charged only for the services you use.

Technical requirements

Before you launch the Quick Start, your account must be configured as specified in the following table. Otherwise, deployment might fail.

Resource quotas

If necessary, request service quota increases for the following resources. You might request quota increases to avoid exceeding the default limits for any resources that are shared across multiple deployments. The Service Quotas console displays your usage and quotas for some aspects of some services. For more information, see What is Service Quotas? and AWS service quotas.

Resource This deployment uses

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles


Amazon SQS queues


Supported Regions

This Quick Start is supported in all available Regions.

Certain Regions are available on an opt-in basis. See Managing AWS Regions.

IAM permissions

Before launching the Quick Start, you must sign in to the AWS Management Console with IAM permissions for the resources that the templates deploy. The AdministratorAccess managed policy within IAM provides sufficient permissions, although your organization may choose to use a custom policy with more restrictions. For more information, see AWS managed policies for job functions.

Iridium partner or customer

If you are not already an Iridium partner or customer, navigate to Iridium to learn more. Existing Iridium customers that are not direct Iridium Value-Added Retailers (VARs) should inquire with their service provider if Iridium CloudConnect is available. Iridium maintains a list of approved Iridium CloudConnect service providers. For more information, see Who’s My Service Provider?

Deployment options

This Quick Start provides a single deployment option:

  • Deploy Iridium CloudConnect into your AWS account. This option deploys Iridium CloudConnect into your existing AWS infrastructure.

Deployment steps

Each deployment takes about 10 minutes to complete.

Sign in to your AWS account

  1. Sign in to your AWS account at with an IAM user role that has the necessary permissions. For details, see Planning the deployment earlier in this guide.

  2. Ensure that your AWS account is configured correctly, as discussed in the Technical requirements section.

Launch the Quick Start

You are responsible for the cost of the AWS services used while running this Quick Start reference deployment. There is no additional cost for using this Quick Start. For more information, see the pricing pages for each AWS service used by this Quick Start. Prices are subject to change.
  1. Sign in to your AWS account.

  2. Choose the link provided (Deploy Iridium CloudConnect into your AWS account) to launch the AWS CloudFormation template.

Deploy Iridium CloudConnect into your AWS account.

View template

  1. The AWS Region that’s displayed in the upper-right corner of the navigation bar is where the network infrastructure for Iridium CloudConnect is built. The template is deployed in the us-east-1 Region by default. Change it if necessary.

  1. On the Create stack page, keep the default setting for the template URL, and then choose Next.

  2. On the Specify stack details page, change the stack name if needed. Review the template parameters and provide values for any parameters that require input. For more information, see the Parameter reference section, later in this guide.

  1. On the Configure stack options page, you can specify tags (key-value pairs) for resources in your stack and set advanced options. When you’re finished, choose Next.

  2. On the Review page, review and confirm the template settings. Under Capabilities, select the two check boxes to acknowledge that the template creates IAM resources and might require the ability to automatically expand macros.

  3. Choose Create stack to deploy the stack.

  4. Monitor the status of the stack. When the status is CREATE_COMPLETE, the Iridium CloudConnect deployment is ready.

  5. Use the values displayed in the Outputs tab for the stack, as shown in Figure 2, to view the created resources.

Figure 2. Iridium CloudConnect outputs after successful deployment

Interacting with your Amazon SQS queues

AWS provides several ways to interact with Iridium CloudConnect SBD queues, including:

Receiving mobile-originated messages

The recommended approach for receiving mobile-originated (MO) messages is to long-poll the ICCMO.fifo queue. After messages are received, save your database to process the messages, and then delete the messages.

As a precaution in case of connectivity issues, Amazon SQS doesn’t automatically delete messages when they’re received. To delete a message, you must send a separate request after receiving it. For more information, see Receiving and deleting messages (console).
# Get the service resource
sqs = boto3.resource('sqs')

# Get the queue
queue = sqs.get_queue_by_name(QueueName='ICCMO.fifo')

# Process messages by printing out IMEI, location, and payload
for message in queue.receive_messages(WaitTimeSeconds=30):
  header = None
  location = None
  payload = None
  data = json.loads(message.body)

  for iei in data['data']:
    if data['iei_type'] == 'MO Header IEI':
      header = data
    elif data['iei_type'] == 'MO Location Information IEI':
      location = data
    elif data['iei_type'] == 'MO Payload IEI':
      payload = data

    # The message may contain location information
    if location is not None:
      print('IMEI {0} location is {1}'.format(
      location['latitude_longitude'] ))

    # The message may contain a payload
      if payload is not None:
      print('IMEI {0} payload of {1} bytes'.format(
        payload['mo_payload'] ))

# Let the queue know that the message is processed

Sending mobile-terminated messages

Mobile-terminated messages (MT) are sent asynchronously. Therefore, when establishing a management process for MT messages, it is recommended that you break the process down into three separate procedures: sending, polling the confirmation message queue, and polling the error message queue.


When sending IT messages, uniquely identify each message with an integer, and then send the message to the ICCMT.fifo queue. For example:

import boto3
import json
import uuid
# Get the service resource
sqs = boto3.resource('sqs')

# Get the queues
mt_queue = sqs.get_queue_by_name(QueueName = 'ICCMT.fifo')
message = "hello device".encode("utf-8").hex()

# Create a message
body = {
  "client_message_id": 123456789,
  "message": message,
  "imei": "432143214321432"

deduplication_id = str(uuid.uuid4())
group_id = str(uuid.uuid4())
  MessageBody = json.dumps(body),
  MessageGroupId = group_id,
  MessageDeduplicationId = deduplication_id

Polling the confirmation message queue

When polling the ICCMTConfirmation.fifo queue for confirmation messages, process each confirmation message and then delete it. For example:

# Get the service resource
sqs = boto3.resource('sqs') # Get the queues

mt_confirmation_queue = sqs.get_queue_by_name(QueueName='ICCMTConfirmation.fifo')

# Check the confirmation queue and, if no message found, check the error queue

for message in mt_confirmation_queue.receive_messages(WaitTimeSeconds=30):
  data = json.loads(message.body)

  # Status greater than zero indicates success
  if data['mt_message_status'] > 0:
    print("Message {0} is queued for delivery to IMEI {1} in position{2}".format(
    print("Message {0} was not sent to IMEI {0}".format(

# Let the queue know that the message is processed

Polling the error message queue

When polling the MTErrors.fifo queue for error messages, process each error message and then delete it. For example:

# Get the service resource
sqs = boto3.resource('sqs')

# Get the queues
mt_errors_queue = sqs.get_queue_by_name(QueueName='ICCMTErrors.fifo')

# Check the confirmation queue and, if no message found, check the errorqueue

for message in mt_errors_queue.receive_messages(WaitTimeSeconds=30):

# Let the queue know that the message is processed


Devices must be provisioned using Iridium SPNet or Iridium Web Services (IWS). The provisioning address format is address:port, which corresponds to the customer origin and destination.

Data format

When Iridium CloudConnect processes data from your device, it puts it in a JSON object that is exchanged between Amazon SQS and the Iridium gateway through Iridium CloudConnect. The JSON object contains information about the device, message payload, and header, in the following format:

    "api_version": 1,
    "data": {
        "mo_header": {
            "cdr_reference": 1179650258,
            "session_status_int": 0,
            "session_status": "No error.",
            "momsn": 58939,
            "mtmsn": 0,
            "imei": "300334010407160",
            "time_of_session": "2019-12-16 15:04:09"
        "location_information": {
            "cep_radius": 10,
            "latitude": "38.52137",
            "longitude": "-77.12970"
        "payload": "746573746d756963"
For more information about message specifications, see the Iridium Short Burst Data Service Developers Guide.

Mobile-originated message formatting

Mobile-originated messages will be translated into the following JSON format:

    "data": {
        "location_information": {
            "cep_radius": 2,
            "latitude": "33.20574",
            "longitude": "-111.50958"
        "mo_header": {
            "cdr_reference": 1519223194,
            "imei": "3000010XXXXXXXX",
            "mtmsn": 0,
            "momsn": 64588,
            "session_status": "sbd_session_successful",
            "time_of_session": "2019-01-25 22:11:07"
        "payload": "54657374696e67204d4f2054657874207769746820494343"
    "api_version": 1
For field details, see the following tables.
Top-level MO keys
Field Description


Contains the latitude, longitude, and certainty radius.


Contains metadata about the message including status and device ID.


Contains the message payload.


Notes the SBD API version. The SBD API version should always be 1.

Location information
Field Description Type


Contains the latitude of the device down to thousandths of a minute.

Floating point (thousandths of a minute)


Contains the longitude of the device down to thousandths of a minute.

Floating point (thousandths of a minute)


Provides an estimate of the Iridium Subscriber Unit’s (ISU’s) location accuracy.


MO header
Field Description Type


Call detail record, also known as auto ID. It’s a unique identifier for a given message in the Iridium gateway database.

10-digit number


International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), a unique equipment identifier also known as device ID.

15-digit number


Mobile-terminated message sequence number (MTMSN) associated with the SBD session. This value is set by the Iridium gateway at the time that an MT message is queued for delivery. It is unique to each IMEI. It is then sent to the IMEI as part of the MT payload transfer.

If an MT payload transfer is attempted, the MTMSN is included in the header regardless session’s success. If the session fails, the payload still queues for delivery. If no MT delivery attempt is made in the session, this value is zero.

5- digit number


Mobile-originated message sequence number (MOMSN) associated with the SBD session. This value is set by the IMEI and transmitted to the Iridium gateway as part of every SBD session. It is incremented by the IMEI after every successful session.

5-digit number


An indication of success of the SBD session between the IMEI and the Iridium gateway associated with the over-the-air payload delivery.

String. (See the MO session status values table below.)


Provides a UTC timestamp of the IMEI session between the IMEI and the Iridium Gateway.


MO session status values
Status Description String


SBD session completed successfully.



MO message transfer, if any, was successful. The MT message queued at the Iridium gateway is too large to be transferred within a single SBD session.



MO message transfer, if any, was successful. The reported location is an unacceptable quality. This value is only applicable to IMEIs using SBD protocol revision 1.



SBD session timed out before session completed.



MO message transferred by the IMEI is too large to be transferred within a single SBD session.



RF link loss occurred during the SBD session.



IMEI protocol anomaly occurred during SBD session.



IMEI is prohibited from accessing the Iridium gateway.


Mobile-terminated message formatting

Use the following formatting to build mobile-terminated messages:

  • Mobile-terminated message JSON

  "client_message_id" : "TEST",
  "message" : "5465737420484558206d657373616765",
  "imei" : "300125010001100",
  "flush_mt_queue" : false,
  "send_ring_alert_no_payload" : false,
  "high_priority_message" : false,
  "assign_mtmsn" : false
  • Bare minimum

  "client_message_id" : 1234,
  "message" : "68656c6c6f20776f726c64",
  "imei" : "300234087352917"
  • With priority specified

  "client_message_id" : 9977331,
  "message" : "68656c6c6f20776f726c64",
  "imei" : "300234087352917",
  "priority" : 2
  • All possible options

  "client_message_id" : 789012,
  "message" : "68656c6c6f20776f726c64",
  "imei" : "300234087352917",
  "flush_mt_queue" : false,
  "send_ring_alert_no_payload" : false,
  "message_priority" : 3,
  "assign_mtmsn" : false
For more information about allowed combinations, see the Iridium Short Burst Data Service Developers Guide. For field details, see the following Top-level MT keys table.
Top-level MT keys
Field Description Type


Unique identifier for client messages.

Number or 4-character string


Payload of the MT message.



Unique equipment identifier of the device that receives an MT message.

15-digit number


When this flag is set to true, all payloads in the MT queue for the given IMEI are deleted. This provides an integrated method to administer MT queues.

When an MT message includes a payload, it is queued after the currently queued payloads, if any, are deleted. This enables the vendor application to maintain a queue depth of one, overwriting any previously queued payloads.

Boolean (true, false)


When this flag is set to true, the Iridium gateway sends an SBD ring alert to the specified IMEI, even though no new MT payload is queued.

Boolean (true, false)


Places the associated MT payload in the queue according to priority level.

Boolean (true, false)


When this flag is set to true, the Generic Security Standard (GSS) API uses the value in the Unique ID field in the message header as the MTMSN for the associated MT message payload.

Boolean (true, false)

MT confirmation message formatting

MT confirmation messages are presented in the following format:

  "mt_message_id": 1234512345,
  "unique_client_message_id": 1234,
  "imei": 123451234512345,
  "auto_id_reference": 5432154321,
  "mt_message_status": -2
For field details, see the following Keys and MT confirmation status values tables.
Field Description


Identifier of the message in the Iridium CloudConnect database.


Customer-supplied identifier for the message.


Unique equipment identifier of the device that will receive an MT message.


Unique identifier in the Iridium gateway database.


Number. (See MT confirmation status values table.)

MT confirmation status values
Status Description


Order in the MT message queue of the successfully received payload.


Message with a zero-byte payload received successfully (i.e., a mailbox check).


IMEI has too few characters, non-numeric characters.


Unknown IMEI – is not provisioned on the Iridium gateway.


Payload size exceeds the maximum allowed.


No payload received.


MT message queue is full (maximum of 50).


MT resources are unavailable.


Violation of MT DirectIP protocol error.


Ring alerts to the given IMEI are disabled.


IMEI is not attached (i.e., not set to receive ring alerts).


Source IP address was rejected by MT filter.


MTMSN value is out of range (valid range is 1–65,535).

For transceiver message sizes and other specifications, see the Iridium Short Burst Data Service Developers Guide.


Q. I encountered a CREATE_FAILED error when I launched the Quick Start.

A. If AWS CloudFormation fails to create the stack, we recommend that you relaunch the template with Rollback on failure set to Disabled. (This setting is under Advanced in the AWS CloudFormation console, Options page.) With this setting, the stack’s state is retained and the instance remains running, so you can troubleshoot the issue. (For Windows, look at the log files in %ProgramFiles%\Amazon\EC2ConfigService and C:\cfn\log.)

When you set Rollback on failure to Disabled, you continue to incur AWS charges for this stack. Ensure that you delete the stack when you finish troubleshooting. For additional information, see Troubleshooting AWS CloudFormation on the AWS website.

Q. I encountered a size limitation error when I deployed the AWS CloudFormation template.

A. We recommend that you launch the Quick Start template from the link provided earlier in this guide or from another S3 bucket. If you deploy the template from a local copy on your computer or from a location other than an S3 bucket, you might encounter template size limitations. For more information about AWS CloudFormation quotas, see AWS CloudFormation quotas.

Q. I already use DirectIP service to send and receive Iridium messages. How do I get access to Iridium CloudConnect?

A. Partners can explore Iridium CloudConnect regardless of their existing connection method to Iridium SBD. Contact your Iridium channel manager for a technical brief tailored to your specific configuration.

Q. How do I get started with an Iridium CloudConnect development environment?

A. Most Iridium customers set up two Iridium CloudConnect instances, one for their development environments and another for their production system. This aligns with the way Iridium customers traditionally set up DirectIP deployments. Also, you can route messages using your traditional method and through Iridium CloudConnect, and use comparative testing to verify Iridium CloudConnect operations and utility.

Q. What is the pricing for Iridium CloudConnect? Who pays for the AWS compute resources?

A. Iridium does not assess a charge for sending messages through Iridium CloudConnect instead of another method such as DirectIP. Iridium, however, prefers that customers use Iridium CloudConnect for development and production environments. As such, Iridium may direct customers away from using SMTP (e-mail) for message exchange to the SBD gateway for production environment activity.

Q. How do you ensure message ordering? Do you use Amazon SQS FIFO (First-In-First-Out)?.

A. Iridium processes messages from the SBD gateway in order of receipt but does not specifically use an AWS Lambda instance to do this. During the setup of Iridium CloudConnect, customers can choose FIFO or non-FIFO configurations. FIFO queues keep messages in order.

Parameter reference

Unless you are customizing the Quick Start templates for your own deployment projects, we recommend that you keep the default settings for the parameters labeled Quick Start S3 bucket name, Quick Start S3 bucket Region, and Quick Start S3 key prefix. Changing these parameter settings automatically updates code references to point to a new Quick Start location. For more information, see the AWS Quick Start Contributor’s Guide.

Deploy into your desired Region.

Table 1. Iridium CloudConnect configuration
Parameter label (name) Default value Description

Iridium Role ARN (IridiumRoleARN)

Requires input

Amazon Resource Number (ARN) of the role in the Iridium AWS account.

Mobile-originated queue name (MobileOriginatedQueueName)


Name of the mobile-originated queue in Amazon SQS.

Mobile-terminated queue name (MobileTerminatedQueueName)


Name of the mobile-terminated queue in Amazon SQS.

Mobile-terminated confirmation queue name (MobileTerminatedConfirmationQueueName)


Name of the mobile-terminated confirmation queue in Amazon SQS.

Mobile-terminated error queue name (MobileTerminatedErrorQueueName)


Name of the mobile-terminated error queue in Amazon SQS.

Send us feedback

To post feedback, submit feature ideas, or report bugs, use the Issues section of the GitHub repository for this Quick Start. To submit code, see the Quick Start Contributor’s Guide.

Quick Start reference deployments

GitHub repository

Visit our GitHub repository to download the templates and scripts for this Quick Start, to post your comments, and to share your customizations with others.


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The software included with this paper is licensed under the Apache License, version 2.0 (the "License"). You may not use this file except in compliance with the License. A copy of the License is located at or in the accompanying "license" file. This code is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either expressed or implied. See the License for specific language governing permissions and limitations.